Removing Wallcoverings from your Commercial Building's Walls

Main Reasons for Removing Commercial Wallcoverings.

If you’re looking to remove commercial wallcoverings, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First of all, are you sure you need to remove it? Commercial wallcoverings are designed for a long life span – usually 15-25 years. This means that they can be difficult to remove, and you may need to use some chemical solutions. Second, like with any wallpaper removal, you will need to be very careful not to damage the underlying walls. With these things in consideration, let’s examine the reasons you consider taking this major undertaking.

Your Wallcovering is Old and Dated

If you’ve ever walked into an office or a building and been greeted by old, outdated vinyl wallcoverings, then you know how uninviting and off-putting they can be. Old wallcoverings can make a space look dated and dull, and can be difficult to clean.

Wallcovering looking dated
Wallcoverings can look dated.

Industrial wallcoverings have a 20 year lifespan, but design styles change more frequently than that. Perhaps you are tempted by the endless variety of colour and patterns of the new commercial wallcoverings or you just prefer the simplicity of paint. So if you are looking to update your commercial space and stay within your budget, updating your walls is the way to go.

There is Mildew Behind Wallcovering

Mildew can often be found behind old vinyl wallcoverings. This is because mildew thrives in warm, moist environments and vinyl wallcovering can provide the perfect conditions for its growth. If you suspect that mildew is present, it’s important to take action immediately. Left unchecked, mildew can cause damage to your walls and more importantly, to your health. To get rid of mildew behind commercial wallcovering, start by removing the affected sections. Then, clean the area with a mild bleach solution or a commercial mold remover. Once the area is clean, dry it thoroughly and apply a new layer of vinyl, unless you are painting the walls. With proper care and maintenance, you can prevent mildew from taking hold in your home.

You Prefer Paint Instead of Wallcoverings

Walls painted after wallcovering removal
Some people prefer the versatility of painted walls

Paint is a more versatile and easier-to-use product than wallcoverings. Paint can be easily updated every few years to keep up with changing designs and styles. Wallcoverings on the other hand, can be more difficult to update and may not always provide the clean look that paint does. Paint also comes in a myriad of colours, allowing you to find the perfect shade to suit your needs. In contrast, wallcoverings have limited colour choices. For these reasons, commercial designers find paint to be a more versatile option for their clients.

How to Remove Commercial Wallcoverings

If the installer primed the walls properly, wallcovering removal is a relatively easy task. Look for a seam and slide a small putty knife under it. Start pulling gently, trying to remove the entire section by pulling gently with both hands.

Vinyl removal from commercial hallway
Pulling vinyl with both hands

Easy removal is possible with commercial vinyl murals and definitely with fabric-backed wallpaper. If the walls were primed and a strippable adhesive was used, removing fabric-backed wallcovering goes very smoothly. Unfortunately, easy removal is the exception and not the norm. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove commercial wallcoverings:

  1. Start by scoring the surface of the wallpaper with a scoring tool. This will help the solvent or chemical penetrate the surface of the wallpaper and make it easier to remove.
  2. Next, apply a solvent or chemical to the scored surface of the wallpaper. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as some solvents and chemicals can be dangerous if used improperly.
  3. Allow the solvent or chemical to soak into the wallcovering for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer. This will help loosen the adhesive holding it in place.
  4. After the specified amount of time has passed, use a scraper to begin peeling back the wallpaper. Start at a corner or edge and work your way around until all of the wallcovering has been removed.
  5. Once all of the wallcovering has been removed, you may need to clean up the walls with a damp cloth to remove any remaining adhesive or residue.
Time to remove the adhesive paste
Next task: remove the adhesive paste.

Hiring a Removal Service

If wallcover removal sounds like a lot of work, it definitely is. A commercial contractor that specializes in this type of work will have the equipment and staff available to tackle the removal. If you are wondering about the cost, it will depend on many factors. The main determining factor is the degree of difficulty that every project presents. We have written a blog to try and answer most questions about wallcovering removal pricing. On average, for basic removal cost, we charge about $2 per square foot of wallcovering.

What is included with our service:

  • Floor and furniture protection.
  • Removal of the wallcovering.
  • Scraping of the adhesive paste.
  • Washing of the walls.
  • Small repairs and patching.

Be aware that certain commercial adhesives are not easy to remove and need to be sanded off the walls. If the installer did not prime, the walls will most likely be damaged and require extensive repairs and skimming. Before we proceed with any repairs, we will prepare a quote for you, detailing the process and cost. Be aware that wallcovering removal creates a big amount of waste. This is especially true with heavy materials, such as fabric backed wallcovering. The Ecopainting service always includes waste removal from your premises and proper disposal.  

For our wallcovering removal services and how we can help you with your decorating needs afterwards, get in touch with us.

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